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5...4...3...2...1...Goodbye, Columbia

5...4...3...2...1...Goodbye, Columbia "There is something noteworthy a rocket can do that the shuttle cannot. A rocket can be permitted to fail." Gregg Easterbrook's 1980 Washington Monthly cover story looks into the Columbia's beginnings, the hazards he saw in the shuttle, and its weaknesses compared to rockets.
Once you get into space, you check to see if any tiles are damaged. If enough are, you have a choice between Plan A and Plan B. Plan A is hope they can get a rescue shuttle up in time. Plan B is burn up coming back.
[via Slate]
posted by kirkaracha on Feb 2, 2003 - 32 comments

 

Houston we have a problem!

Houston we have a problem! At 9:00am EST communication was lost with space shuttle Columbia. The touch down should have been occurred at 9:16am.
posted by MzB on Feb 1, 2003 - 450 comments

Challenger Explodes

17 years ago today, the space shuttle Challenger exploded, killing all seven aboard. I share this primarily as I recall this being the first where-were-you-when of my childhood. So where were you?
posted by xmutex on Jan 28, 2003 - 161 comments

Is there Life on Mars?

Is there Life on Mars? As NASA announce a nuclear-powered Mars and beyond project, British scientists are looking forward to the launch of the Beagle 2 which will search for signs of life on the Red Planet. Is this the return of the Space Race in a new form? And will they find any sign of life?
posted by anyanka on Jan 22, 2003 - 3 comments

View the Earth from a different perspective

Shuttle Views the Earth: Geology from Space. Also see the Human Imprints set. [via milov]
posted by riffola on Nov 27, 2002 - 5 comments

Leonid Meteor Storm 2002

They're back--and promise to as brighter or brighter than last year:
NASA scientists' predictions for the 2002 Leonid meteor storm.

Such meteor storms rarely happen in consecutive years, but 2001 and 2002 are exceptions. Experts have just released their predictions: Depending on where you live (Europe and the Americas are favored) Leonid meteor rates in 2002 should equal or exceed 2001 levels.

That's the good news. The bad news is that the Moon will be full when the storm begins on Nov. 19th. Glaring moonlight will completely overwhelm many faint shooting stars. Indeed, I often hear that the Moon is going to "ruin the show."


We shall see.
posted by y2karl on Nov 16, 2002 - 22 comments

Coolest sun picture ever

Coolest sun picture ever - sunspot closeup... The Swedish Institute for Solar Physics web site has some other cool pictures. (As an aside, I wonder what equivalent shutter speed, aperture, and focal length would be?)
posted by notsnot on Nov 15, 2002 - 15 comments

NASA Challenges Moon Hoax Conspiracy

NASA Challenges Moon Hoax Conspiracy After decades of almost ignoring claims that the Apollo missions were hoaxed, NASA commissioned aerospace writer James Olberg to write an official rebuttle. Perhaps a bit more reasonable than the NASA Stooge, the book is aimed at the general public.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 7, 2002 - 33 comments

Sea And Sky:

Sea And Sky:
Sea news, sky news, great photos, NASA Mission Insignia Patches (including Skylab), info about deep sea creatures, exploration timelines, and tonnes more.
posted by Fabulon7 on Nov 5, 2002 - 5 comments

Swan song for a great explorer.

Swan song for a great explorer. Tomorow, the Galileo explorer will make a flyby of Jovian moon Amalthea ending pehaps the geatest unmanned mission in NASA history. Galileo telemetry may not survive the flyby having already receieved much more radiation than it was designed for. Even if it does survive, this will be its final orbit scheduled to crash into Jupiter in September of next year. In spite of antenna difficulties, the spacecraft returned many beautiful images of Jupiter's moons, along with coverage of the Shoemaker-Levy collision and the first atmospheric probe to decend into Jupiter's weather.
posted by KirkJobSluder on Nov 3, 2002 - 9 comments

Liftoff with the Space Shuttle.

Liftoff with the Space Shuttle. NASA attached a small RocketCam to the side of the External Tank on the launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis earlier this month. You can also download the full video.
posted by Mwongozi on Oct 23, 2002 - 3 comments

Le Voyage dans la Lune/A Trip to the Moon

Le Voyage dans la Lune/A Trip to the Moon A tree grows in Houston. Apparently a cache of tree seeds were carried into space by an American astronaut in the early 1970s. They were carried home, planted, grown into seedlings, and distributed around the country, mostly in honor of the 1976 bicentennial. Anyway, no one took note of where the moon trees went. A curious NASA scientist is on the hunt for the locations of the moon trees. Do you have a moon tree in your town? Do you have a documented historic tree in your area? Are your local trees protected? Does this make local residents irate?
posted by jengod on Oct 22, 2002 - 13 comments

Maybe they should have let Lance Bass on this one.

Maybe they should have let Lance Bass on this one. A Soyuz rocket explodes 29 seconds after takeoff, killing one and injuring eight from the blast. Although it was not carrying any material destined for the International Space Station, launch delays caused by the investigation into the explosion might hurt the IIS project in the long run.
posted by LuxFX on Oct 16, 2002 - 18 comments

World on Fire

World on Fire is brought to us by the fun kids at NASA, showing satellite images of active fires around the planet on July 11, 2002. "Across the world, the widespread fires that burn each year in the savannas of Africa, Australia, and Brazil dwarf even the most significant fire season in the western United States as far as total acreage and number of fires." NOVA Online has its own set of images from 2000 as well.
posted by keli on Sep 3, 2002 - 6 comments

The Mars Exploration Program Landing Sites

The Mars Exploration Program Landing Sites has kept me enthralled for most of the day. Explore the surface with a beautiful scalable map or argue over a landing site. Personally, I'm leaving a geocache here. (Warning: circa 1994 web design combined with possible browser crashing applets)
posted by Stan Chin on Aug 23, 2002 - 2 comments

Nasa plans to read the minds of terrorists...

Nasa plans to read the minds of terrorists... NASA wants to use "noninvasive neuro-electric sensors," imbedded in gates, to collect tiny electric signals that all brains and hearts transmit. Computers would apply statistical algorithms to correlate physiologic patterns with computerized data on travel routines, criminal background and credit information from "hundreds to thousands of data sources," NASA documents say
posted by Espoo2 on Aug 20, 2002 - 12 comments

From the Earth to the Moon

From the Earth to the Moon by Jules Verne: A capital idea. Why did we not fasten a thread to our projectile, and we could have exchanged telegrams with the earth?. Bad idea, said Jules. Great idea, says NASA.
posted by thijsk on Aug 12, 2002 - 27 comments

NASA finds gravitational 'space freeway' that runs through solar system

NASA finds gravitational 'space freeway' that runs through solar system... Vorgon jokes aside, this could seriously reduce the amount of energy it takes to move around the solar system. [this is good]
posted by SpecialK on Jul 19, 2002 - 23 comments

the names all sound like superheroes

the names all sound like superheroes skystreak. thunderchief. super sabre. firebee. darkstar. and they fly, some of them faster than the speed of sound, but these "vigilantes" weren't born on the four-color pages of a marvel comic book.

they are nasa research vehicles and this way cool photo gallery stretches back to the days of chuck yeager and the x-1 transonic rocket plane. just a little bit of the right stuff for your thursday morning.
posted by grabbingsand on Jul 11, 2002 - 8 comments

The engine canna take any more, captain!

The engine canna take any more, captain! So, we're going to ground the fleet. I guess our friends in the space station are just going to have to wait until NASA is done checking under the hood.
posted by dwivian on Jun 25, 2002 - 6 comments

Solar System Akin to Earth's Is Discovered

Solar System Akin to Earth's Is Discovered Any minute now, I imagine somebody at a listening station on a smaller, bluer planet a few in from this one making a minute adjustment to their equipment and promptly spraying warm stimulant-laced beverage over their console...
posted by hob on Jun 14, 2002 - 13 comments

The New Frontier-

The New Frontier- Preparing the law for settling on Mars. "Like the abandoned launch fields [at Cape Canveral], the Outer Space Treaty [of 1967] needs to have its valuable parts salvaged, and the dangerous ones demolished."
posted by Ty Webb on Jun 4, 2002 - 12 comments

Next Thursday, NASA will announce the discovery of huge water ice oceans on Mars. Lying less than a metre beneath the surface south of 60° latitude, the water ice reservoirs if melted would form an ocean 500m deep covering the entire planet. NASA insiders believe these findings could result in a manned landing within 20 years.
posted by adrianhon on May 26, 2002 - 24 comments

NASA scavenges on eBay for old parts for Space Shuttle

NASA scavenges on eBay for old parts for Space Shuttle [NYT link-reg req] The Space Shuttle is so old that many of the parts for it are no longer being made. NASA has been reduced to buying old equipment on eBay to scavenge for circuit boards and old CPUs.
posted by geneablogy on May 12, 2002 - 10 comments

New NASA Satellite Zooms in on Tornado Swath

New NASA Satellite Zooms in on Tornado Swath
...the twister's swath is the bright stripe passing through the town and running eastward 6 miles (10 km) toward the Patuxent River beyond the righthand side of the image. This stripe is the result of the vegetation flattened by the storm. The flattened vegetation reflects more light than untouched vegetation.
posted by quonsar on May 3, 2002 - 9 comments

Freeze sperm, leave the men behind.

Freeze sperm, leave the men behind. In this article, a NASA researcher explains how a flight to the nearest star would take place within our lifetimes, but require at least a couple generations. The generation that leaves (which could be entirely female to save on weight and maximize potential for offspring) would die, and giving birth to the next crew. Taking a trip like this would increase our knowledge of space many-fold, but would you be willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for mankind? Is a trip like this a bad idea?
posted by mathowie on May 2, 2002 - 52 comments

Aerogel

Aerogel - it holds six world records for physical properties and is nicknamed 'blue smoke' for its appearance; unsurprising since it is 99.8% air. Despite being used in the NASA Stardust and Mars Pathfinder missions, aerogels are not a recent invention and they were first prepared in 1931. It's also a great insulator - here are some wonderful photos of it in action.
posted by adrianhon on Apr 25, 2002 - 19 comments

We should get to know our nearest neighbors. Especially when some are potentially hazardous. We've blown a kiss to 433 Eros and she has revealed some of her secrets.
posted by Geo on Apr 8, 2002 - 2 comments

Our great grandkids are toast!

Our great grandkids are toast! A one kilometre-wide chunk of space rock could strike the Earth in 2880, say astronomers... "This is not something to worry about," said Jon Giorgini, a senior engineer at the American space agency's Jet Propulsion Laboratory... "That's plenty of time to consider the options - 35 generations, in fact."
posted by y0mbo on Apr 5, 2002 - 12 comments

The Solar System Simulator

The Solar System Simulator 'is designed to simulate - as realistically as possible - what one would actually see from any point in the Solar System. The software looks up the positions of the Sun, planets and satellites from ephemeris files developed here at JPL, as well as star positions and colors from a variety of stellar databasees, and uses special-purpose renderers to draw a color scene. Texture maps for each of the planets and physical models for planetary rings have been derived (in most cases) from scientific data collected by various JPL spacecraft.' Far too complicated for me to even begin to understand, still I've always wondered what Saturn looks like from Triton.
posted by RobertLoch on Mar 27, 2002 - 15 comments

Puzzling X-rays from Jupiter

Puzzling X-rays from Jupiter "We weren't surprised to find x-rays coming from Jupiter." Other observatories had done that years ago. The surprise is what Chandra has revealed for the very first time: the location of the beacon -- surprisingly close the planet's pole -- and the regular way it pulses. (Via Fark.)
posted by Mwongozi on Mar 7, 2002 - 8 comments

The Blue Marble.

The Blue Marble. Adjust your gamma settings kids. The Earth with true-color imagery at 1-kilometer resolution.
posted by pedantic on Feb 7, 2002 - 29 comments

Natural Hazards and unique imagery

Natural Hazards and unique imagery. NASA's fascinating and informative freely-accessible Earth Observatory. [news release]
posted by mkn on Feb 5, 2002 - 7 comments

NASA's 2003 budget cancels the Europa and Pluto missions.

NASA's 2003 budget cancels the Europa and Pluto missions. Instead it seeks to produce nuclear powered propulsion. I am sad about the Europa and Pluto missions, I was really looking forward to those, but I am intrigued by the prospect of nuclear propulsion in space.
posted by homunculus on Feb 5, 2002 - 13 comments

We're all gonna die! We're all gonna....oh wait, maybe not.

We're all gonna die! We're all gonna....oh wait, maybe not. NASA's got some "bad news for Anthrax", and we can thank better space greenhouse designs. The concept seems to be akin to a stove fan, but it's so much more. It's super-duper-pathogen-killing-fan. It's a pathogen killing machine.
posted by Salmonberry on Feb 1, 2002 - 3 comments

Public Survey for Input to the Planetary Decadal Survey.

Public Survey for Input to the Planetary Decadal Survey. The Planetary Society is seeking input from the public for NASA's planetary research priorities for the next 10 years. The deadline for taking the survey is January 31st.
posted by homunculus on Jan 26, 2002 - 4 comments

Planetquest

Planetquest is NASA's nifty new site where they'll be posting info on new planetary discoveries. It's a long shot, but hopefully this will lead to broader based public support for the space program.
posted by Optamystic on Jan 9, 2002 - 4 comments

Singing the holiday blues? Its quite a common affliction. Nothing like a collective brush with death however, to put stuff all back into the proper perspective.
posted by BentPenguin on Dec 24, 2001 - 5 comments

NASA creates the most detailed topographic map of the Earth ever produced. The new map is a result of data gathered on shuttle mission STS-99 in February 2000.

The catch? DOD doesnt want most of it released. (link via Wired)
posted by Irontom on Dec 12, 2001 - 8 comments

NASA Tentatively OKs Second Space Tourist

NASA Tentatively OKs Second Space Tourist "NASA and its partners in the International Space Station have agreed in principle to let a 28-year-old South African become the second paying tourist on the orbiting outpost, the U.S. space agency said on Tuesday." Mark Shuttleworth you lucky bastard!
posted by dgeiser13 on Dec 11, 2001 - 8 comments

The romance versus the reality of man in space.

The romance versus the reality of man in space. According to this article, unless NASA gets an innoculation of a whole bunch of money, we are likely to be limited to maintaining no more than three longterm residents of the space station we are committed to building. How does this bode for our Star Trek vision?
posted by MAYORBOB on Dec 5, 2001 - 18 comments

Rising Sea Level Forcing Evacuation of Tuvalu.

Rising Sea Level Forcing Evacuation of Tuvalu. "During the twentieth century, sea level rose by 20-30 centimeters (8-12 inches)." The 1,196 tiny islands of the Maldives are "barely 2 meters above sea level". "In 2000 the World Bank published a map showing that a 1-meter rise in sea level would inundate half of Bangladesh's riceland." Here are EPA and NASA sites on the sea level. (NASA? They may be promoting justification to colonize other planets ASAP!)
posted by mmarcos on Nov 25, 2001 - 17 comments

NASA considering privatizing shuttle.

NASA considering privatizing shuttle. I'm prepared to sit in a Taco Bell shuttle once a trip into orbit becomes affordable. Extra sour cream please.
posted by skallas on Nov 7, 2001 - 3 comments

With the Mars Odyssey about to finalize gravitational orbit tomorrow, you too can observe the surface of Mars via a simulcast with PBS or through the NASA website on October 30th. NASA is still searching for irrefutable evidence that Mars could have supported an ecosystem or more importantly life. Interesting.
posted by Benway on Oct 23, 2001 - 3 comments

Is Mars the answer?

Is Mars the answer? The healing process will take years. The moon landing was a peaceful demonstation of America's technological leadership in the 20th century. Could a Mars landing do the same for the 21st?
posted by Loudmax on Sep 26, 2001 - 30 comments

Cassini's just outside the orbit of Jupiter.

Cassini's just outside the orbit of Jupiter. Where is the space program in all of this? Have mundane zealots hobbled humanity's greatest feats to come? Should we be plotting ourselves to the stars now?
posted by crasspastor on Sep 22, 2001 - 4 comments

Sattelite Pics

Sattelite Pics of NY, here is a bigger one
posted by zeoslap on Sep 12, 2001 - 3 comments

NASA raises funds through photographing vineyards.

NASA raises funds through photographing vineyards. 5 bucks an acre? That's probably a pretty good price for both sides.
posted by meep on Aug 31, 2001 - 3 comments

Arnold had a full grill in Total Recall,

Arnold had a full grill in Total Recall, but Hopes for manned — and especially a "womanned" mission to Mars — might hinge on teeth. The bone-weakening effects of zero-gravity environments might lead to permanent tooth loss, says a government dentist. via Slashdot
posted by adampsyche on Aug 28, 2001 - 13 comments

Stormy Space Weather Takes a Toll on Ozone

Stormy Space Weather Takes a Toll on Ozone A new study confirms a long-held theory that large solar storms rain electrically charged particles down on Earth's atmosphere and deplete the upper-level ozone for weeks to months thereafter. Said Charles Jackman, a researcher at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center's Laboratory for Atmospheres and lead author of the study: "[W]hen these solar proton events occur you can see immediately a change in the atmosphere, so you have a clear cause and effect."
posted by dagny on Aug 2, 2001 - 4 comments

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